CEDP Special Alert on Troy Davis
THE TIME IS NOW TO SAVE TROY DAVIS
This is a special action alert to stop the execution of Troy Davis. While a date has not been set, it could be at any time in the coming weeks or months. Please read through this action alert and think of ways you can join with us to help save Troy.
On Wednesday of this week, Troy learned that his mother had passed away the day before in her sleep. Troy has a very loving and close family. No doubt this news is devastating to him and his relatives. Martina, Troy's sister, who we have all grown to love, continues to battle for her own life--she has been in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments, and her regime of chemotherapy has made her very weak.
Our hearts go out to this family who has suffered so much. Services are being arranged and the funeral is likely to be on Monday. Flowers can be sent to the Sidney A. Jones Funeral Home (124 W. Park Ave., Savannah, GA 31401). If anyone wants to make a monetary contribution, checks can be sent to Martina Correia (payable to her) for De'Juan Correia's college fund--Martina's address is 169 Parkview Rd., Savannah, GA 31419. The CEDP will be sending flowers and a contribution to the fund.
BACKGROUND ON TROY'S CASE
On August 19, 1989, in the early morning hours, Mark Allen MacPhail, a 27-year-old Savannah police officer, was working off duty as a security guard when he went out in to a parking lot to assist a homeless man who was being attacked. MacPhail was shot twice and later died.
According to police, eyewitnesses to this shooting identified Troy as the culprit. Troy was later convicted and sentenced to death based on this testimony. No murder weapon or physical evidence ever linked Troy to the crime. Troy has always maintained his innocence.
Years after Troy was convicted, new evidence surfaced showing that one of the nine witnesses who labeled Troy as the shooter may have, in fact, committed the crime himself, and deflected blame onto Troy in order to avoid prosecution. Seven of the eight witnesses have since recanted their original testimony, with many saying they were threatened and coerced by police to implicate Troy.
For more information look at our fact sheet on Troy's case.
TROY IS IN IMMINENT DANGER
Troy Davis has been on death row in Georgia for nearly 20 years and has faced three execution dates in recent years, each of them halted. His appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court was recently denied, clearing the way for Georgia to set a new execution date in the coming days, weeks or months.
Last June, Troy had an evidentiary hearing that had been mandated by the Supreme Court. This was encouraging because the Supreme Court rarely makes these kinds of rulings. Activists had some hope that with the hearing the truth would finally be allowed to come out, and Troy could win a new trial.
At the hearing, witnesses who had once testified against Troy came forward to recant their previous testimony, explaining how they were pressured and threatened by police to say Troy killed Mark MacPhail. A brand new witness also testified that he knew Troy didn't do it because he SAW who did do it. But even with this compelling evidence, Judge William Moore was not convinced. He wrote that if a jury were to hear the evidence that was presented at the hearing, they would still convict Troy. This is just nonsense.
But this is how our legal system works. This judge gets to decide what a jury would think of the evidence, and while he admitted the case against Troy was “not ironclad”, he still denied Troy his appeal.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling upheld Judge Moore's decision, but gave no comment or explanation about to why they ruled against Troy.
As Martina Correria told a reporter at the Washington Post, "Sending the case back to Savannah for a hearing, we knew it was a long shot because it's sending it back to the same judges and same prosecutors who convicted Troy, and of course, they're not going to admit that they lied and had misconduct in this case. So we knew this was an uphill battle, just as all his hearings have been an uphill battle."
SOUTHERN INJUSTICE IN ACTION
While in the past, racism in the South came in the form of Black people being hung from trees, today, we see a different form of lynching taking place--cloaked in the idea of fairness (Troy had a trial) and with a veil of checks and balances (his case was reviewed by the Supreme Court and there was an evidentiary hearing).
Yet all of this is a sham. No physical evidence links Troy to the crime. Many of the witnesses who were the main evidence for convicting Troy have now recanted their testimony, saying they were coerced and threatened by police. Those same witness recantations cannot be the basis for a new trial? Why not? If Troy was a white son of a senator, would the recantations be good enough?
Racism cannot be separated out from what is happening in the case of Troy Davis. In fact, racism has everything to do with how the death penalty is carried out in this country. Southern states where slavery was still legal 150 years ago carry over 80 percent of all executions. And in cases where the murder victim is white, the defendant has a much higher change of getting charged with the death penalty than if the victim was Black.
Troy Davis is a Black man from the South who was convicted of killing a white police officer. Usually, a case like this would never get a second glance because the deck is so stacked against him. But that is far from the situation with Troy. Millions of people in this country and around the world are familiar with Troy's case. Millions have come to believe he deserves a new trial. Millions believe he must not be executed.
Martina Correra has spearheaded the national and international efforts to save her brother Troy, and her efforts have slowed the gears from moving forward. But now the death machine is about to start moving again against Troy. This time it is going to take all of our voices, all of our action and everything we can muster to say no to the death penalty, no to the execution of Troy Davis, and no to this modern-day lynching.
LETHAL INJECTION DRUGS IN GEORGIA SEIZED
Another factor effecting Troy's case is the national spotlight on Southern states and their illegal acquisition of drugs to be used in lethal injections. The Drug Enforcement Administration has seized Georgia's supply of lethal injection drugs as it investigates how these drugs were imported.
It is clear that state officials will go to alarming, even illegal, lengths to keep the death machine moving. We must be clear with our message: There is no right way to do the wrong thing! Whatever drug cocktail they come up with does not make the racist, anti-poor death penalty a humane form of justice.
Read more about lethal injection in this New Abolitionist story.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT FOR TROY?
Troy has a clemency petition before the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles. This board can vote to grant clemency, which would mean either commuting Troy's sentence to life or life without the possibility of parole, or they can deny him clemency, which would clear the way for Troy to be executed.
The current parole board is made up of five people, three of whom are new to their positions since the last time Troy's case was heard (in 2008, the parole board voted against Troy). All five members were appointed by former Gov. Sonny Perdue. The current governor of Georgia is Republican Nathan Deal. He has no authority under Georgia law to grant clemency without a recommendation of the board. But he could, technically, reject a recommendation of clemency and authorize Troy's execution.
In conjunction with Amnesty International and other groups, we are launching a petition drive to show the five board members that Troy has many, many supporters. Here is some background information on the parole board members.
-- Gale Bucker was appointed in 2005. Her term expires on December 31, 2011. She started her career as a Chatsworth police officer and worked her way up the chain, working as a Georgia Bureau of Investigations officer. She has a long career in law enforcement and also worked as an aide for three different governors.
-- Robert Keller was appointed in 2007. His term will last for two or more years. He has served in many different capacities during his career, including as a state and federal prosecutor in Georgia.
-- James Donald was appointed in 2010. His term will last for two or more years. He served as a prison commissioner for the Georgia Department of Corrections.
-- Albert Murray was appointed in 2010. His term will last for two or more years. He has worked in the Tennessee Department of Corrections and the youth division within the Georgia Department of Corrections.
-- Terry Barnard was appointed in 2010. His term will last for two or more years. He served as a Georgia state representative.
Because of the seriousness of this crime and because a police officer was killed, it means we will need to show a lot of support for Troy in order to persuade the board to vote in favor of clemency for Troy. Attached are petitions to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles and the governor of Georgia urging clemency for Troy. When completed, please send to: CEDP, P.O. Box 25730, Chicago IL 60647, or fax them to us at 773-955-4842.
POSSIBLE ACTIONS FOR TROY
-- Hold a petitioning event in your community for Troy (use the attached petition and Troy Davis fact sheet).
-- Set up a table with pictures of Troy and big signs saying "Stop the Execution of Troy Davis" and "Why is Georgia About to Execute an Innocent Man?" You can hand out fact sheets about Troy and gather signatures on the petitions.
-- Hold an action/speakout for Troy. Consider if you can contact other groups to help you in holding this kind of protest. -- Write an article about Troy that can be printed in your school newspaper or website, your church bulletin or your union newsletter.
-- Make a presentation about Troy's case to your church, your union or your school, and follow it up by getting people to sign the petition. -- Ask local radio shows to do a feature on Troy.
-- Consider changing the name or profile picture on your Facebook page to "Save Troy Davis," or something similar.
-- When a national day of action for Troy is called, get involved with organizing yourself and others to go to Georgia or hold an action in your community that day (we will notify everyone as soon as a date is decided).
-- Post this CEDP alert to other activist listserves.
-- If you think of other ideas, email us at email@example.com.
PETITIONS FOR TROY
Again, check out and download our fact sheet on Troy and you can also download our petition for use at tablings or events. There is also an online petition at Amnesty’s website that we encourage everyone to sign.
TWEETS FOR TROY
Amnesty International is recommending that those with twitter accounts send out a Troy Davis tweet. Here's an example of what you could use:7 out of 9 eyewitnesses recanted. No physical evidence. Stop the execution of Troy Davis http://bit.ly/SaveTroy #TroyDavis
FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ON TROY'S CASE
CEDP CHAPTERS TO CONTACT TO GET INVOLVED FOR TROY
Austin, Texas • 512-494-0667 • firstname.lastname@example.org Bay Area, Calif. • 510-333-7966 • email@example.com Chicago--Hyde Park • 773-955-4841 • firstname.lastname@example.org Delaware • 302-545-7023 • email@example.com Denton, Texas • 956-432-7991 • BritSchulte@my.unt.edu New York City--Harlem • 347-853-2758 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Marlene Martin: email@example.com or Randi Jones Hensley: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like some help on getting an action going for Troy or for any idea’s you have to help Troy.